Credits & Grading

Most graduate programs are offered on a part-time and full-time basis. Part-time and full-time are dependent on the number of registered credits within a given semester. Once admitted to a graduate program, a student may move from full-time to part-time or part-time to full-time by simply changing the number of credits for which they are registered. However, a student is initially admitted with a full-time or part-time status. There are tuition and financial aid ramifications associated with full-time and part-time status.

Defined by Credits

SBS Students

Full-time status for SBS graduate programs is defined as 12 to 15 credits. A student must be registered for at least 12 credits to be considered full-time. A maximum of 15 credits is allowed.

Part-time status for SBS graduate programs is defined as 1 to 11 credits. A student must be registered for at least 1 credit to be considered part-time. A maximum of 11 credits is allowed. For fully online SBS graduate program students, part-time status is defined as 1-3 credits per term.

Campus-based students must complete and have approved an Excess Course Petition Form [PDF] to exceed full-time course load credits. The only exception to this policy is the semester in which a campus-based student registers for the following combination of 1-credit courses, SBS-700 and/or FIN-601 or SBS 700 and/or MBA 701.

Fall and Spring Sessions: Campus-based graduate students who meet the following criteria will be considered for enrolling in more than 15 credits:

  1. The student has a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and is in good academic standing.
  2. Evaluation of a student's excess course request(s) will be done on a case-by-case and course-by-course basis to ensure a student's success within their program. Petition must be approved by program director and assistant dean of graduate programs.
  3. Must demonstrate extenuating circumstances for the request.
  4. Has consulted with the program director/advisor who will review the excess course petition, in addition to, the degree completion options for the student.

Summer Sessions: Six credits per summer session constitute a full-time schedule (maximum of 12 credits across all summer sessions). Campus-based graduate students must seek permission to register for any excess credits in a session and demonstrate extenuating circumstances for the request. The above criteria for fall and spring sessions will be used when evaluating the petition.

SBS Online Graduate Program Students

SBS online graduate programs are part-time only programs. Three credits per term constitute a normal online course load. The only exception to this policy is the term in which a student registers for an additional 1 credit or 1.5 credit course (e.g., SBS 700, MBA 701, MBA 625, MBA 615, MBA 745, or FIN 601). Students who seek to enroll in more than 3 credits in any term must complete an Excess Course Petition Form for Online Programs [PDF], demonstrate extenuating circumstances, and meet the following criteria:

  1. The student has a minimum GPA of at least 3.30 and is in good academic standing after completing a minimum of one full semester.
  2. All prerequisites must be taken before the excess course. Prerequisites cannot be taken concurrently with the excess course.
  3. Evaluation of a student’s excess course request will be done on a case-by-case and course-by-course basis to ensure a student’s success within their program.
  4. The student has consulted with the student success advisor / program director, who will review the excess course petition in addition to the degree completion options for the student.
  5. Petition must be signed by the program director and assistant dean of online graduate programs.
CAS Students

Full-time status is defined as 12 credits for CAS graduate programs except for the PhD in Economics, which is defined as 9 credits. Students must submit an Excess Course Petition form to the CAS Dean's Office if they plan to register for more than 12 credits (9 in Ph.D Economics program).

Tuition Implications

Full-time: The University sets a full-time tuition rate charged fall and spring semesters. If a student enrolls in excess credits, the additional credits are charged at a pro-rated per-credit fee.

Part-time: The University sets a part-time per-credit tuition rate.

Summer: All students registered for credits in a summer term are charged at the per-credit tuition rate.

For current full-time, part-time, and excess tuition rates visit the Bursar's Office.

Visit Student Financial Services for information regarding full-time or part-time status and eligibility for financial aid.

The following grading system applies to all graduate students.

Letter Grade Honor Point Equivalent per Credit
A 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C 2.0

"A," "A – ," "B+," and "B" represent satisfactory work.

"B-", "C+", and "C", represent passing but unsatisfactory work.

"F" is a failing grade. It indicates that the student has not completed all course requirements in a satisfactory manner. Students who stop attending a course without having complied with the official withdrawal procedure can anticipate receiving a grade of "F." The "F" grade becomes a permanent part of a student’s record and cannot be expunged even if the course is successfully retaken.

"I" (Incomplete) indicates a student has done passing work in a course but has not yet submitted all the outstanding work required for a formal evaluation. The "I" is awarded at the instructor’s discretion, only if the student has completed at least half of the course requirements satisfactorily at the end of the semester, and there is a reasonable expectation that all course requirements can be completed in one academic year. An "I" must be formally re-evaluated by the instructor within one academic year, resulting in an evaluation grade or an extension of the "I," or it automatically converts to an "F*."

Students must complete coursework with the original instructor. The change in the "I" grade must be made by the original instructor, or in his or her absence, by the department chair. If this is not possible, arrangements must be made through the department chair in concurrence with an assigned instructor.

F* indicates that the student has not completed all the course requirements in a satisfactory manner in a course where they originally received an Incomplete grade. Incomplete grades expire to an F* grade one year after the Incomplete grade was assigned. An F* grade operates in the same manner as an F grade.

"IP" (In Progress) can be issued where by nature of the course content the course may not be complete by the end of the term. IP grades automatically convert to an "F*" after one academic year.

"W" signifies official withdrawal from a course. A "W" is assigned administratively if a student:

  1. Drops a course, following proper University procedure, between the end of the drop/add period and the withdrawal deadline of the semester, or
  2. Drops a course or withdraws from school after the deadline of the semester with the written approval of the Students Affairs Office. Permission is given only for valid cause such as debilitating illness, relocation, serious family crisis, or other circumstances beyond the student’s control.

"AU" (Audit): In an audited course, a student will not receive credit or honor points; however, a student must pay the same tuition as if taking the course for credit. It is the student’s responsibility to inform the instructor that he/she is auditing the course during the first two weeks of classes. Under no circumstances may a student change from the evaluative letter grade system to audit or vice versa after the first two weeks of classes.

A student who audits a course is responsible for attending classes and completing required coursework.

"P" or "F" (Pass/Fail): Selected graduate thesis, internship, and practicum courses may be graded on a pass/fail basis. A Pass (“P”) grade may be applied toward fulfilling degree credits, but it will not be applied toward the cumulative GPA.

Courses officially dropped during the add/drop period will not appear on the student’s record.

Academic Complaints

A student who has a complaint about a grade on a single assignment or exam or concerning the faculty member teaching a course should first speak with or email the faculty member. If the complaint is not resolved, then the student should bring the matter to the attention of the department chair or program director. If the complaint remains unresolved, then the matter should be brought to the attention of the academic dean’s office of the school in which the course is offered.

Grade Grievances

There is a formal process for grieving a final course grade.

Within two weeks of the grade being assigned, the student should speak with or email the faculty member.

If, after communicating with the faculty member, the student believes that the grade had no basis in fact or was arbitrary, the student may then petition the department chair or program director in writing (or by email).

Students should keep copies of correspondence for their own records.

If the grievance is not addressed or resolved equitably after meeting with the department chair or program director, the student has 10 business days to file a formal grievance with the academic dean (or dean’s designee) of the school in which the course is offered.

The academic dean (or dean’s designee) will inform the student of a decision within 15 business days of receiving the formal grievance. The student may appeal this decision to the provost (or provost’s designee), whose decision shall be final. It is the responsibility of the provost (or provost’s designee) to come to a resolution of the grade dispute within 15 business days of receiving the formal grievance from the student.

A graduating student must initiate the grade grievance process no later than three days prior to commencement by emailing the faculty member and copying the department chair or program director.

Graduating students should be mindful that the grade grievance process may impact the awarding of Latin honors and may delay the date of degree conferral.

Grievances Related to Academic Accommodations for Students Registered with Disability Services

Students with disabilities who believe they have received inappropriate treatment or inadequate service from the University pertaining to their granted accommodations have the right to file a grievance with Director of Disability Services. The grievance must be submitted in writing to The Office of Disability Services and should include a detailed description of the inappropriate or inadequate service and supporting documentation (when appropriate). Students with disabilities must indicate the resolution they are seeking.

Students with disabilities who are unsatisfied with the response from the Director of Disability Services may submit an appeal within 5 business days to the ADA Coordinator, Dr. Ann Coyne, Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students, Student Affairs Office, 12th floor 73 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02108, 617-573-8239, TDD:617-557-4875 or by email. Students with disabilities must state the resolution they are seeking. The decision of the appeal by the Dean of Students is final.

Grievances Related to Students Enrolled in an Online Program

Suffolk University operates under the approval of “NC-SARA”, National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. Consistent with 610 CMR 12.00 [PDF], students must attempt to resolve complaints at the institutional level. If the matter is not resolved at the institutional level students may submit a SARA complaint. Massachusetts residents may submit a complaint via the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s (DHE) consumer complaint form. Non-Massachusetts residents that are located in SARA member states may seek to file a formal complaint with the DHE using the SARA Complaint Procedure Process form. Students located in nonmember states may utilize the DHE’s consumer complaint form in lieu of the SARA complaint form.

Suffolk University Follows the Federal Government’s Definition of a Credit Hour:

“ an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutional established equivalence that reasonably approximates not less than -

(1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

(2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.”

Students can only receive credit for an internship during the semester in which registered for the internship course.  You cannot receive credit for an internship completed in a previous or future semester.  In order to receive credit, you must be registered for the appropriate course prior to the add/drop date for that semester.

College of Arts & Sciences Policy

A student may retake only one graduate course in his/her graduate program where an “F” grade has been received. The new course grade will be included in his/her GPA. The original “F” will remain on the transcript but will not be included in the GPA unless the "F" grade was a result of academic misconduct, in which case both grades will be included in the GPA.

Sawyer Business School Policy

A student may retake only one graduate course in his/her graduate program where an “F” grade has been received. The new grade will be included in his/her GPA. The original “F” will remain on the transcript but will not be included in the GPA. The repeated course must be completed within one academic year.

If a second “F” is received, the grade will remain on the transcript and be included in the GPA.

A passing grade must be earned in all required courses.

Students can appeal to the Sawyer Business School dean of graduate programs for readmission.

Transcript of Record

A transcript is an academic document or electronic image maintained by the Office of the Registrar that reflects the unabridged student academic history at Suffolk University. Transcripts include course work from other institutions whose credits are awarded at the time of entrance or approved transfer credit after the student enrolls at the University.

The University reserves the right to refuse to issue a transcript of any student who has not fulfilled all financial obligations due to the University. A financial hold will be placed on a student record if the student is either delinquent or has defaulted on loans.

Transcript requests must be submitted online or in writing to the Office of the Registrar.

Transfer Credit

In all cases, students should consult individual departments for the requirements of a particular program. Unless otherwise stated, the general rule is that a maximum of 6 graduate credits in the field of specialization from an accredited institution will be transferable toward a master's degree at Suffolk University. Courses offered for transfer credit must have a minimum grade of “B,” must not have been part of another earned degree, and must be declared at the time of matriculation.

Students requesting transfer credit should see their respective program director and file such requests within the first semester of a graduate program at Suffolk University.